The Norman Transcript

October 11, 2012

The Lifesaving Station (a modern parable)

By Karl Burkhardt
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — “On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often happened was a makeshift lifesaving station. Its devoted workers went out day or night, searching for the lost and saving many lives. Soon, the little station developed quite a reputation for its unselfish work. Many people joined the station, giving of their time, money and effort for the support of its work. They bought new boats and trained new crews. The little lifesaving station grew.

Then, some of the new members of the station grew unhappy because the building was crude and poorly equipped. So they enlarged the building, replaced the emergency cots with comfortable beds, and put in some nice furniture. Soon the station became a popular gathering place for its members. Most of them lost interest in going to sea on lifesaving missions, so they hired a professional crew to do this work.

One day a large ship was wrecked off the coast. The hired lifesaving crew brought in boatloads of people. They were wounded, dirty and sick. The beautiful new building was soiled and damaged. So the property committee had a shower house built outside the club where shipwrecked victims could be cleaned up before coming inside. At the next meeting, club members got into a big dispute. Most wanted to stop the lifesaving work because it interfered with their regular activities. But some members insisted that lifesaving was still their primary purpose. However, they were voted down. The majority told them if they wanted to save lives, they could start their own station down the coast. They did.

As the years passed, this new station also developed into a club, and a third lifesaving station was founded. If you visit that area today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along the coast. Shipwrecks still happen, but most of the people drown in the stormy waters just off the shore.” — Frank G. Voight

Could it be that today people are not rejecting God as much as they are rejecting church? Churchianity can be recognized externally as a kind of religious club where people, largely of same social status or class, and bound together by a mutual interest in some religious project or program, meet together to advance that particular cause. But that is a far cry from true Christianity which consists of individuals who share the same Divine Life, who are made up of all ages, backgrounds, classes and status-levels of society, and who, when meeting together, manifest the Life of Jesus Christ.

How will we accomplish this lifesaving mission? We must make the people around us in our realms a priority. We must take time, get to know them and understand their needs. Only then can we introduce them to a God who can meet all of these needs. Once they establish a relationship with God, we must connect them to fellow believers in family of God. Imagine what would happen if every local “station” of God’s lifesaving business in Norman united around a lifesaving mission.

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